On the 6th April 2022 Flying Officer Bernard Gardiner will celebrate his 100th birthday. To celebrate this fantastic milestone the Hawker Typhoon Preservation Group is honoured to host Bernard and his family for an intimate dinner at the world renowned RAF Club, London.
Since being introduced to the project before the official launch at the then Boultbee Flight Academy (now Spitfires.com) hangar, Goodwood, in October 2016, Bernard has been a staunch supporter of the effort to raise the funds required to rebuild RB396. Indeed, the only event since then that he has missed was that launch event due to ill health on the day. He regularly makes the journey from his home in Jersey over to “the mainland” to support the project’s endeavours. As a result he has featured on More4’s documentary “Inside the Spitfire Factory” where in episode 2 the producers took a look at the Typhoon, visiting the rebuild at Airframe Assemblies. That was filmed in late 2019. Then, in late 2020, he took to the skies in a postponed-due-to-covid-restrictions Spitfire flight from Duxford, with project Ambassador Paul Bonhomme at the controls, thus fulfilling a lifelong itch; he had flown the Hurricane and Typhoon, but not the Spitfire. Now, he has. That video has currently had more than 70,000 views on the project’s YouTube channel.
Amongst all that, and amid the global pandemic, Bernard has made a number of other appearances where he is treated as quite the celebrity, and deservedly so. He spent an entire weekend at Aces High signing pieces, including an M1 Garand, for guests who were thrilled to meet him. He was also guest of honour at the Black Tie gala last October where he had the guests in stitches as he recounted his story about low flying “not below 200’…”
For all these reasons, and more, we are delighted to be organising a special and intimate 100th birthday celebration for Bernard and his family on the 16th April at the RAF Club, London. There will be a pre-dinner reception, three course meal, after dinner speech by Colin Bell DFC and of course, cake. Bernard means a great deal to many, and for those of us on the project to be actively supported by a Typhoon pilot who was there, flying the aircraft in the role it is known for, is an incredible privilege.
It is being run purely on a cost covering basis, but any extra funds raised will go towards two things: more cake for Bernard, and the ongoing rebuild of Hawker Typhoon RB396, which Bernard is yearning to see progress. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share an evening with two WWII combat veterans and celebrate this special occasion. Ticket window closes 18th March and numbers are extremely limited.